illustration by Darryl Knickrehm
Published: March 2013 in Wayliners Magazine (click on The Seer in the right-hand column)
Genre: post-apocalyptic science fiction
Length: 18 pages
Setting: probably a future Earth after big war
Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology
Summary: Our narrator is a Seer, someone who sees the future and assists the Huntsmasters in finding and killing traitors. (The traitors sided with the aliens in the great war that devastated the world.) He feels like an imposter, though, because all the visions he sees are of death and killing while the other Seers prophesy peace and a return to good times. His hunting party is ambushed one day and he is captured. He meets the head of the traitors, Carl Drosson. He connects the name of the aliens (the Drosson) with this man, and comes to realize all the stories he’s been told are false.
Final thoughts: This was an interesting world and the story left me wanting more. The narrator realizes the basis of his life is false, but we don’t get to see what he does about it, besides leave to join the traitors. It is amazing how easy it is to convince a society that one group is Other and needs to be destroyed. In this case, the people are literally brainwashed, but it doesn’t usually take that extreme level of story telling to make one group hate another.
Title comes from: The title of the narrator
Again, it was a finishing up kind of week. As such, we didn’t use any new books. So, instead of talking about new books we used this week, I’ll be talking about new books I’ve added to my reading list.
I’ll start with Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth. I’d seen the first season of the BBC show and thought it was quite enjoyable. I didn’t realize the show was based on a book, and The Modern Mrs. Darcy was nice enough to bring the series to my attention.
Next was a post from The Hub about strong female characters in fantasy. I’ve read Alanna by Tamora Pierce and added Sabriel (Old Kingdom) by Garth Nix, Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, and Valiant: A Modern Faerie Tale (Modern Faerie Tale) by Holly Black.
The Modern Mrs. Darcy sent me down another rabbit hole today with a link about adults rereading one of their favorite books from when they were a kid and discussing how it was to read as an adult. I’ve read many on the list (although my favorite book as a teen that I reread many times wasn’t mentioned. It was A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle. I recently reread it and loved it all over again.) The one book I wasn’t aware of but sounded most interesting was The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.
Finally, I’m adding A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan. It’s the first book in the Natural History of Dragons series. She’s got a new one just out called Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir by Lady Trent that SF Signal just posted about. The cover shows a basilisk swimming next to a blue whale, and it seems to be written like a Charles Darwin approach to dragons. Color me intrigued and totally drawn in by the cover.
So, anyone read any of these books and want to put a vote in for which to read first?
Genre: nonfiction sustainable development
Length: 365 pages of text, 401 pages with notes and index
Interest: I can’t remember why I put it on my reading list in the first place. I’m sure it was recommended in a similar book I’d read previously. Continue reading
Genre: YA post-apocalyptic speculative fiction
Length: 416 pages
Setting: mostly Babylon Revisited (former NYC), soon after the events of Steelheart
Interest: It’s the second book in the Reckoners series, following Steelheart, that I saw in the new book section at my local library. Continue reading
Genre: middle grade fiction
Length: 134 pages
Setting: Hard Pan, California, present day
Interest: Again, I was looking for audio books for our trip to Gettysburg. I needed something shorter to listen to after we finished Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. Since it had won a Newbery Award, I figured the book had a good chance of being enjoyable. Continue reading
Published: Jul/Aug 2013 in Analog
Genre: science fiction
Length: 26 pages
Setting: earth orbit, near future
Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology
Summary: We follow Charlie and Kalima as they pilot a junkship to a Zombie satellite. Their job is to attach a Lorenz tether to the satellite so it will safely decelerate and burn up in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, all is not as they were told. The satellite isn’t a Zombie. The Chinese want to keep it in orbit. The tethers don’t actually do what they promise. Kalima sacrifices herself to keep the satellite in orbit, and Charlie ends up back on Earth. Interspersed with the action are bits on how Earth got to the point that they needed junkships in the first place.
Final thoughts: This story was written to answer the question “What happens if orbital space junk gets out of hand?” It was an interesting answer to the question, but I didn’t really care about Charlie and Kalima. They were supposed to be getting married soon, but I sensed very little connection between them. Kalima seemed like she had a death wish, and Charlie was clueless. Moral of the story – don’t let space become a battle zone and take care of the trash.
Title comes from: Perhaps the tether connecting the junkship to the satellite and Kalima to the junkship.
This week was a busy one. I think we had somewhere to be outside of the house every day. Even so, we managed to get some schooling in and used a couple of new books. We’re still studying Shakespeare, but we’ve finished with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and have moved on to The Tempest (Mr. Curiosity’s choice). There’s a couple of choices to read summarized-for-children versions of Shakespeare. I’ve used both E. Nesbit’s Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers and Charles Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare. Both are available free online from either the Kindle store or Gutenberg. They turn the play into a story that covers all the major plot points, but don’t use his language. My goal is to get the kids knowledgeable about what’s going on so they can follow along when we watch the play.
Since we’re reading The Tempest, I found a graphic take on the play. The Tempest (Graphic Shakespeare), adapted by Daniel Conner, isn’t as in-depth as the graphic novel we found for A Midsummer Night’s Dream but still puts a visual component to the reading. It also uses language closer to what Shakespeare used in his play. Next week we’ll watch the play.
One last Shakespeare book for the week – Top Ten Shakespeare Stories by Terry Deary. It’s written for a YA audience and provides a little background into ten of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays, including elements the original audiences would have known that we’re less likely to catch. There’s also a summary of the plot of each of the play, told from the viewpoint of one of the main characters. It’s an interesting addition to our other books.
And those are the books we read this week, linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap-Up.